tv [untitled] July 10, 2013 12:00am-12:31am PDT
>> good afternoon and welcome to the san francisco board of supervisors land use and economic development committee. i'm scott wiener chair of the committee. to my left is david chiu, a member of the committee. committee vice-chair supervisor jane kim will be joining us shortly. i want to thank sfgtv for broadcasting today's hearing, josh alexander and greg bergman. and the clerk is alisa miller. madam clerk, are there any announcements? >> yes. completed speaker cards to be included as part of the file should be submitted to the clerk. items acted upon today will appear on the july 16 board of supervisors agenda unless otherwise stated. >> thank you. madam clerk, can you please call item number 1? >> item number 1 is a hearing to review the efforts and strategies of the department of public works, municipal transportation agency, and planning department to reduce clutter on sidewalks, specifically focused on new racks, large kiosks, and muni bus shelters, including improving pedestrian access, and ensuring that city contractors install and maintain these structures in a manner that respects the needs of the neighborhoods. >> thank you. i called for this hearing today
to discuss the placement of street furniture on our sidewalks and what the strategies are of city departments to make sure that we are coordinated and strategic in terms of how we use or limited sidewalk space. currently, many of our streets are not pedestrian friendly. whether heavily traveled intersections like market and octavia, or neighborhood streets near schools and parks. san francisco is one of the highest pedestrian injury rates in the state for the last three years, we've seen an increase in the number of pedestrian fatalities in our city ~ and this does not even include the hundreds of unreported accidents that occur throughout the year. we need safe and open sidewalks, not only for today's pedestrians, but for our growing population. we're seeing large developments in various parts of the city, whether on market street or in the southeastern part of the city. this will lead to more people living and working in our city.
we're estimated to add 100 or 150,000 people in the next several decades. these people will need to walk to work, run errands and get to and and from muni stops and stations. [speaker not understood] that we make it easy for people to get around. we have many narrow sidewalks in the city and we have sidewalks that are not always easy to navigate for pedestrians. recently the board of supervisors passed legislation that i authored to streamline our process for producing -- for approving pedestrian upgrades such as wider sidewalks and pedestrian build outs. this is a very important piece of legislation and i hope will put us on the right path in terms of making our sidewalks better for pedestrians. but we also have a challenge on our current sidewalks that we
need to address, and that is that many of these sidewalks are overly crowded with street furniture. some of these items, some of the street furniture provides very critical services for our city. for example, newsracks provide a critical service of allowing people access to newspapers. muni bus shelters, of course, are incredibly important in terms of providing people with space to wait for the bus. and traffic control signals which obviously control our traffic signals and provide a key service. others, the value is not so apparent like some of the massive advertising kiosks that we see on our sidewalks that block visibility and that make it challenging for pedestrians to navigate the sidewalk. but whether or not particular street furniture has value and some has value, maybe not, they
can all block pedestrian access. they can all reduce automobile and pedestrian visibility. and, so, it's essential that we promote access to our sidewalks and that we are very thoughtful and strategic in terms of what we place on our sidewalks and where exactly we place it. so, for example, and we'll show some pictures shortly. as i noted, newsracks are incredibly important. in my district at 18th and castro, one intersection, one of the most crowded intersections in the city, there are seven of the clearchannel newsrack pedi mounts with room for 50 newspapers at one intersection. majority of those are typically empty. the question is newsracks are a good thing. do we really need seven or space for 50 newspapers at one intersection?
similarly, there are bus shelters, because of our bus shelters are rather wide, there are some sidewalks where you almost have to walk single file to get past the bus shelter. so, one of my legislative aides is here and we have some photos we're going to show of some examples around the city in terms of our placement of street furniture. ~ andres powers is here >> is that andres power with supervisor squalor. i'll show a quick set of slides with some of the issues we've asked the department to speak about ~ and as the supervisor has mentioned in his introduction. so, here, we see sort of a large kiosk intersection crowding at one point a pedestrian crossing. we is see all kinds of random pieces of furniture on
sidewalks blocking pedestrian access. some of it, again, useful, some of it questionable. we have a large advertising kiosk and hidv that is you may or may not be able to see the pedestrian crosswalk, visibility obviously is quite obscured. we have portable -- we have toilets, public toilets on our sidewalks. we have set up obstacle courses between garbage cans, newsracks and muni shelters, limiting pedestrian pathway. >> that last you showed, that's at 24th and church, i believe? >> castro and 18th. >> that's castro and 18th, okay. >> and, again, sidewalkses that are quite cluttered with different types of furniture ~. wide muni shelters. no pedestrian pathway behind them. this continues throughout the city.
again, single file instead of -- one of the streets in soma, similar. we have here an example of a -- on the right there, a traffic control box. if you're a driver making a right turn here, the visibility of the crosswalk is quite constrained. so, if you take a look at the circle here, there are people waiting to cross. and as they get close to the intersection, they're completely blocked by the box. similarly here, an advertising kiosk completely object instructs the crosswalkses from vehicles perhaps making a right-hand turn. another example of a traffic control box, and they're everywhere. anywhere you go in the city -- an afternoon i walked around and took these photos. all parts of the city we see a similar swayctiontion.
~ situation. newsracks, here we have one cubicle occupied, the rest empty. similarly here. this here right in front of city hall, we have two empty -- two of them are broken and the rest are empty. another example. thank you. >> thank you very much. and we, because of -- for a variety of reasons, proposals to put even more street furniture on our sidewalks, again, often serving good purposes, but requiring us to be very strategic in terms of how we place that. for example, and i know this is a topic of conversation around the city, but the at&t plan to put utility boxes on the sidewalks, a recent proposal by the postal service to place some rather large receptacles on the sidewalks.
and a proposal by the mta which i'll be discussing today to place a number of large rest room facilities on sidewalks. so, the purpose of today's hearing is to make sure that we as a city are being strategic and thoughtful and coordinated in terms of how we use our sidewalks for what can often be very important street furniture. i think that there is a perception at times that there's not enough coordination, and that departments do things sometimes, you know, without taking a look at the whole better streets plan and just making sure that we are being fully coordinated, and that we are complying with our very thoughtful better streets plan. so, we have a few departments here who are going to talk about their strategies. and i first want to call up adam barrett from the planning department to talk about how this all fits together.
>> good afternoon, supervisors. adam barrett from the planning department. when i was the project manager for the better streets plan which was completed and adopted by the board in december of 2010, and the better streets plan was an effort to bring together all the different agencies that have jurisdiction over the public right of way, different aspects of the public right-of-way, to capotecreate a comprehensive set of design guidelines for how we design our pedestrian environment ~. so, i'm going to provide some context of what the better streets plan as sort of the city adopted shall guiding document on streetscape design has to say about the issue of streetscape clutter. and i'm also going to talk as a representative of the planning department some of the general plan and some of the policies there which are consistent with the better streets plan. and, in fact, the better
streets plan was adopted by reference into the general plan. so, to start with i thought i would propose sort of a definition by what we mean bestreetscape clutter. sorry for the overlap there. what it says is it's the collectv i have uncoordinated placement of various objects on the sidewalk. what i want to point out there is it is not about any one individual element, whether it's an attractive or purely functional element. and it also doesn't mean that we shouldn't have, you know, any type of street furniture or utility or whatnot in the public right-of-way. in fact, those are often necessary function ally at thexv and can be very activating item in the streetscape, too. but what it does mean is we're talking about the relationship of the different elements to one another and how they're located in the overall streetscape environment. and when we're talking about streetscape clutter we're talking about doing a poor job of that and we're talking about
coordinated street design, then that's more consistent and coordinated. so, andres powers showed some examples of streetscape clutter. knees are just a couple that i'm showing. and one point i want to make here is if you look at the photo on the left there aren't actually any vertical elements in the streetscape there, but the placement of the underground utilities and water mains and driveways means that [speaker not understood] any opportunity to do street trees. i think streetscape clutter can also mean looking at what's happening underground as well. and the better streets plan, this is the cover, provides specific guidance on how we should be designing our streets too achieve the opposite of streetscape clutter, basically a coordinated approach to streetscape design. and here is a policy lifted directly from the better "street signs". minimize visual clutter in the streetscape environment. and